Factory farming is pushing independent farmers to the edge of extinction

A proposed concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in Burnett County, Wisconsin, is slated to house 26,000 hogs and produce millions of gallons of liquid manure every year. Residents fear the irreparable damage a facility of that size could do to their air, land, and waterways, as well as to their property values and the local economy, and many fear there’s nothing they can do to stop it. As part of TRNN’s special collaboration with In These Times magazine for “The Wisconsin Idea,” TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez traveled with Cameron Granadino (TRNN) and Hannah Faris (In These Times) to Burnett and Polk counties to speak with farmers and residents in the area about their underreported struggle to protect their communities from the factory farming industry. In this interview, we speak with local farmer and beekeeper Kristy Lynn Allen about the damage the industrialization of farming has done to agriculture in general, and about the damage the new CAFO would do specifically to farmers like her. Allen is the founder of The Beez Kneez, LLC, and serves as president of the local chapter of the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

Pre-Production: Maximillian Alvarez, Simon Davis-Cohen, Hannah Faris, Cameron Granadino

Studio: Cameron Granadino, Stephen Frank

Post-Production: Cameron Granadino, Stephen Frank, Kayla Rivara

The Wisconsin Idea is an independent reporting project of People’s Action Institute, Citizen Action of Wisconsin and In These Times.

Maximillian Alvarez

Editor-in-Chief

Ten years ago, I was working 12-hour days as a warehouse temp in Southern California while my family, like millions of others, struggled to stay afloat in the wake of the Great Recession. Eventually, we lost everything, including the house I grew up in. It was in the years that followed, when hope seemed irrevocably lost and help from above seemed impossibly absent, that I realized the life-saving importance of everyday workers coming together, sharing our stories, showing our scars, and reminding one another that we are not alone. Since then, from starting the podcast Working People—where I interview workers about their lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles—to working as Associate Editor at the Chronicle Review and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Real News Network, I have dedicated my life to lifting up the voices and honoring the humanity of our fellow workers.
 
Email: max@therealnews.com
 
Follow: @maximillian_alv

Cameron Granadino

Studio Technician

Cameron is a researcher, camera operator, and editor for TRNN. Cameron focuses on prisoners rights and grassroots organizing in Baltimore, MD. He brings his trained eye to creating and cutting together the shots that we broadcast to your screen.

Hannah Faris

Hannah Faris is associate editor at The Wisconsin Idea, an independent reporting project of People’s Action Institute, Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund and In These Times.